The Winston Group is a strategy and research firm dedicated to making ideas matter.

U.S. News and World Report: Obama Has Misdiagnosed America’s Income Inequality Problem

by Lisa Mathias

Stephanie Slade, one of the WG’s project directors, released her first full-length op-ed in US News and World Report today, giving her thoughts on how the US should address income inequality.

But what people often fail to recognize is that the state is itself the tool by which the haves keep the have-nots without. Removing their secret weapon would, in fact, level the playing field for all participants in a way no amount of government intervention ever could.

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Obama Has Misdiagnosed America’s Income Inequality Problem: An Op-Ed for U.S. News

by David Winston

The answer isn’t more government, but restoration of a free market

In his acclaimed recent speech in Osawatomie, Kan., President Barack Obama articulated what has become the dominant liberal explanation of the issues America faces. “Inequality gives an outsized voice to the few who can afford high-priced lobbyists and unlimited campaign contributions, and runs the risk of selling out our democracy to the highest bidder,” he said.

The president correctly identifies the injustice inherent in rewarding the rich with undue political influence. Unfortunately, he misdiagnoses the source of the problem.

Obama’s mistake is a common one. He sees inequality as the root cause of our present evils, giving those “at the top” an unfair advantage when it comes to advocating for policies that benefit them. They alone have the resources to buy access and sway, thereby ensuring the “rules of the game” will always be rigged in their favor. This story makes intuitive sense, but it suffers from an obvious flaw: The real problem is not that certain individuals have the ability to “game” the system while others do not. The problem is that we’ve come to accept a system that invites itself to so easily be gamed.

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Donald Trump as Debate Moderator Makes the GOP Look Like a Joke

by David Winston

This week, I was asked to participate in US News & World Report’s “Debate Club,” where myself and four others, including Grover Norquist, weighed in on the question: Should the GOP presidential candidates participate in Donald Trump’s debate?

Virtually no one in the Republican mainstream is happy about the prospect of a GOP debate featuring celebrity billionaire Donald Trump as moderator. Texas Rep. Ron Paul, in declining his invitation, said the event would create an “unwanted, circus-like atmosphere.” Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman has likewise refused to participate, and conservative voices like George Will, Karl Rove, Ari Fleischer, and the National Review editorial board have lambasted Trump’s involvement.

The reaction to the debate on the right has been one of alarm, and for good reason: the choice of Trump as moderator contributes to the perception that the Republican Party no longer takes itself seriously.

Onlookers have watched as Republicans flirted with nominating a pizza mogul with zero years of political experience. They saw recent frontrunner Rick Perry, the governor of Texas, struggle to remember which agencies he would eliminate if elected. Last year, they were faced with a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate who felt the need to go on the air and announce, “I’m not a witch.” And now the GOP has anointed a reality TV star whose biggest conservative credential is that he forced the president to take time away from orchestrating Osama bin Laden’s assassination in order to prove—again—that he was born on U.S. soil.

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